French President Emmanuel Macron rejected the idea that China had handled the coronavirus outbreak better than Western democracies in an interview published in Friday's Financial Times.
The FT quoted him as saying that there was no comparison between countries where information flowed freely and citizens could criticise their governments and those where the truth was suppressed.
"Given these differences, the choices made and what China is today, which I respect, let's not be so naive as to say it's been much better at handling this," Macron told the FT. "We don't know. There are clearly things that have happened that we don't know about."
Frictions between China and France came to light earlier this week when the Chinese ambassador was summoned by the foreign minister after his embassy posted on its website what French lawmakers called "fake news".